Riot Games plans on having major changes implemented to a few tanks–champions that have the ability to absorb damage and initiate fights–during the midseason update. They also plan on making improvements to the Rift Herald, an objective introduced a year and a half ago to give players an objective they could look to conquer in exchange for some pushing potential. This patch will most likely be the one released after Rakan and Xayah come to the rift. The video introducing the changes can be seen below.
Let’s start with those tanky champions that are set to get a few changes within their kit. Sejuani is a character that has fallen short as of late. While she has her advantages, Riot Games felt that she didn’t have a big enough impact on the game. That’s why they reworked her kit to make her more useful when in team fights. Now, when fighting with any melee allies, she or they will apply stacks of Frost to enemies. After a target reaches max stacks from herself or her ally, Sejuani will have the ability to point-and-click stun them. This is a re-vamped Permafrost passive that’ll replace the Glacial Prison stuns she has at the moment. Her new Glacial Prison will now turn an area into a slowing zone.
Maokai has been a champion that players could count on for a long time. His playstyle is safe, yet, if utilized efficiently, can give teammates the opportunity to secure an important kill or objective. Maokai’s saplings will now do more damage if thrown into a bush, which can prove to be a good way of keeping enemies away from important bushes, like the ones surrounding Baron. His passive, Sap Magic, will be getting a few changes as well. Instead of stacking any ability that’s cast in the area of the magical tree, he only stacks abilities that actually hit him (while his own abilities still add to the stack as well). But Maokai’s ultimate is the biggest change to come for The Twisted Treant. Nature’s Grasp will be replacing the Vengeful Maelstrom players are used to. This new ultimate is sent out by Maokai as a wall of roots that slowly advance towards an area, rooting any champion that gets stuck within its clutches.
The last champion to get a minor re-work from Riot Games is Zac, that green blob players see bouncing around the rift like a version of Flubber built for destruction. The first change coming to Zac has to do with his Stretching Strike. Instead of Strike, the ability’s title will include an ‘s’ and be Stretching Strikes. He sends out his slimy arms, and, if he hits a champion, he has the ability to send out a basic attack that’ll send two different targets bashing into each other. I’m most interested to see how this ability is applied in game time situations. Zac’s ultimate, Let’s Bounce!, is also getting a minor update. When cast, Zac will now have the option to charge up for a few seconds, which changes the ultimate completely. If charged, he’ll then send enemies stuck on top of him to a target location. If he doesn’t charge, the ultimate will look the same as it does today.
The Rift Herald is the next topic of discussion, as it’s getting a major overhaul that’ll be extremely important for players to utilize during the early game stages of the match. Instead of granting a player a buff for retrieving the eye of the Rift Herald, Riot Games will now introduce a whole different approach. When a player has the eye in their inventory, they’ll be given an empowered recall (like when you defeat the Baron) and the option to summon the Rift Herald to push down a lane. Her main goal is to smash down objectives in the lane and won’t focus on champions. Although this is the case, the Rift Herald can still be defeated in the lane, it just may take a few players from your team to do so; she’ll still be her tanky old self outside of the pit. It’ll be awesome to see all of these new mechanics be implemented in professional play.